Update from Mayor Busse regarding fire station incident

June 29, 2020

Dear Community,

The FBI is in its initial stages of a thorough and methodical investigation to determine the facts surrounding a piece of rope resembling a noose that was found in the locker of a Bloomington firefighter. Because this is an active and ongoing investigation, the FBI will not comment on its nature or progress. People with tips or other knowledge about this incident are urged to contact the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office by calling 763-569-8000.

I realize the anger, frustration and hurt being felt in our community. I have heard from many of you and strongly share your feelings supporting the firefighter, condemning hate, and wanting answers. Please know that we recognize this incident is very serious and that we are dealing with it in that same spirit. 

The City has a strict workplace policy that forbids all types of discriminatory and disrespectful behavior. When we become aware of violations or someone makes an allegation that a violation occurred, we have a legal obligation to investigate it.  Violators of our respectful workforce policy will be held accountable. The City does not condone acts of hate or discrimination and I do not believe such an act is reflective of the overall culture of the City of Bloomington or our Fire Department.

I assure you that the City of Bloomington, including the Fire Department, is committed to being a safe and respectful place to work for all employees.  Building on existing efforts, the Fire Department will continue its racial equity work with an opportunity for all Department members to participate in a safe space discussion to discuss this incident and share its impact as well as explore questions about racial equity in the Department.  The Department is scheduling additional training and work sessions to reinforce City policies, continue its racial equity work and emphasize the importance of such work.  

While we don’t have all the answers, we know that there is much work to be done. I also believe that this is an opportunity to show the best of Bloomington. At our City Council meeting on July 13, we will be focusing on a plan for how we can act with urgency to advance racial equity while being thoughtful and intentional about creating meaningful change. Many of you have also indicated your desire to actively participate in advancing racial equity in our community. We appreciate your interest and ask you to take a pledge and share with us your thoughts about moving this work forward. 

Tim Busse
Bloomington Mayor